A line from one of my favorite classic movies:
“I think the human race is having a nervous breakdown.”
I do not claim to have the answers or to be right about any of this; I am just wondering…
Even though I tend to get overly concerned about what can go wrong in life, and even though I have been considered to be a worrier beyond what is helpful, and even though I can become a little too focused on physical changes and aches and possible health troubles, even I, a hyper-vigilant human, EVEN I wonder at the shut down of the entire planet due to concerns about covid19. Concerns that appear to be in some ways out of proportion compared to all the other contagious and not contagious stuff that can make us sick and even make us die.
100,000 people died in the USA in 1968 from the H3N2 virus pandemic; one million deaths worldwide; most excess deaths were in people over 65.* Sound familiar? I was 16 years old; I don’t remember it being a topic of discussion or being afraid of it. That’s something that makes me wonder about how this is being handled currently. Maybe it is that we learned something from that and we can curtail the damage from this one. I hope so.
I just don’t know enough yet about just how different this virus is and if it hunts me down and overwhelms me, I will surely be proven wrong.
Right now, though, I wonder if it is possible that maybe the disease is not all-consuming. At the very least, maybe there are more choices beyond shutting down entirely vs opening everything up in an instant. Gathering huge congregations of people for events — even for churches and synagogues and mosques might need to be delayed for longer than we all might like. It could be that people over 60 or so with health problems, would be the ones who mostly stay home and healthy people under 60 can get back to work.
It would be nice if we could muddle through this without unwarranted fear and self-destruction.
I think the quarantine makes sense on some basic level; especially before we actually had any idea of how things would develop. At this point, we may need to take the risk and GRADUALLY open up based on the situation in each state or city or village or little farm in the middle of nowhere and nobody. I think we will do that. But some experts and pretend-journalists seem to be suggesting we shut down indefinitely and that just seems so out-of-context – is there something they really aren’t telling us?
“If even one life is saved,” preaches the governor of New York, then we must continue the shutdown. He says we can’t risk even one life. And yet we take risks consistently. By driving cars for one glaring example and we drive 75 miles an hour every day and every day thousands of people get injured or die; driving at 25 miles per hour would save many lives but we don’t even consider that. We take risks with flu’s and cold viruses and even by our eating habits. The governor doesn’t stop everything so that those lives can be saved – not even one. He never scolded people or prohibited elective cosmetic surgery, for example, even though people can die from complications from that – at least one has anyway so if that’s the criteria, mustn’t he act? That cannot really be the basis for this quarantine and, in fact, it is not the reason for it at all; it is to slow down the spread so we can deal with it more effectively. He knows this so he is either dishonest or ridiculous.
And why does the majority of the media not at least question this? What happened to speaking truth to power? Now they just seem to echo whatever political stance they agree with and then go on to berate their opposition at every opportunity. Question it all, please, so that we can get a true picture and be more likely to find protection from a rogue virus and not just be terrified of it.
Some of the other humans seem more anxiety-attacked than me. At least I realize I’m over-reacting. It’s as though every over-reactive, non-productive thing I’ve learned through the years NOT to do, has become standard procedure. One pervasive panic attack.
Ah, well. Maybe this virus is different and we’re all going to be obliterated and boy will I feel silly.
Other years, the local and national news bombarded us with traumatic reports of the regular flu, and mosquitos, and ticks and bees that will kill you on sight. They show absurdly enlarged pictures of bugs and germs and all kinds of visuals except for one with chicken little running through the streets crying the sky is falling (they use a rookie reporter instead of the chicken for that visual). They have made themselves ridiculous and obnoxious. Even the weather has become a vehicle of fear rather than information; on a beautiful, warm and sunny day, we are directed to the SEVERE WEATHER CENTER forecast, just in case we make a mistake and relax for a couple of hours.
Because this is what the media seems to have been reduced to, without even a pretense of objectivity: sensationalizing almost every single thing in a constant barrage of fear and terror (offset with some cute animal picture from social media). And then belittle the viewers who have lost confidence in and question the veracity of the news.
What is the motive? To gain an audience? To say, “Look at me. Look at me. I am a rodeo clown. Watch my advertisements and make me rich and famous?” It’s discouraging and disappointing and gives genuine journalism a bad name. And thank goodness there are still some ethical journalists out there.
Meanwhile, once this current crisis is resolved, which it will be (one way or another), I’m waiting for the next headlines to be: “Danger. Danger. Thousands of people are dying each day all over the world! The overwhelming majority of them are over 85 years old. No known cause. We must stop this tragedy.” Oh, wait, people have a tendency to grow old and die; have to find another scary situation to exploit. Can’t tell the terrorists from the reporters and the politicians.
Most importantly, such reporting makes it impossible to know what is factual and what is hysterical. And that does a disservice to us all because when they finally get around to telling the truth, they come off like the boy who cried wolf howling into the abyss.